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In March of 1967 the City of Decatur introduced a proposal to provide its citizens with a year round recreation program. The plan was known as Operation New Decatur. Under the plan, the city would expand its recreation program and hire a full time director. Three new community centers would be constructed in the Northwest, Southwest and Southeast sections of Decatur and new park areas would also be developed.

Mrs. Carrie Matthews was an active civic worker and the director of Sterr’s Day Care Center. Northwest Decatur’s first community recreation center was named in her honor for the time and talent she contributed to her community. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Carrie Matthews Recreation Center was Tuesday, April 9, 1968. The $200,000 center was formally dedicated Sunday, January 19, 1969.  The Carrie Matthews Recreation Center was the first of three centers completed that were included in the Operation New Decatur plan developed by the city leaders in 1967. The first director of the center was Ira L. Turner and the assistant director was Mrs. Annie Ruth Harris.





Carrie Matthews 




Montez Matthews, daughter of Carrie Matthews,

shows Mayor Charles Guntharp, left,

and Ira Turner, Center Director,

a portrait of her mother that will hang in the Carrie Matthews Center.







Trying out the basketball facilities are four students from

Westlawn Elementary School.

Melvin Baker, 10, David Swoope, 9, Sandra Denise Collier, 11, and Clotile Harris, 9.






Ira L. Turner & Mrs. Ann Ruth Harris

at Carrie Matthews Recreation Center the week prior to its opening.

(Decatur Daily Photo 1968)





City officials and members of the family of the late Carrie Matthews gathered Tuesday at the site of the Carrie Matthew Recreation Center for a ground breaking ceremony. Present from left are Jimmy Brown, city recreation director; Bill Aycock, architect; Theodore Matthews, son of the late Carrie Matthews; Dick Bryson, contractor and Vince Kantola, chairman of the park and recreation board. (Decatur Daily Photo April 10, 1968)



Carrie Matthews Youth Basketball League
LEFT: Pee Wee League Champions from left, front row Timothy Benford, Dwight Clement, Johnny Baker and Tim Baker; second row, Trainer David Holderfield, Wendell Benford, Thomas Bates, Darius Crayton and Sandy Turner. (Decatur Daily Photo February 16, 1973) RIGHT: Tournament Champions, from left, front row Darnell Shackelford, Stanley Shackelford, Frederick Shackelford and Chris Holyfield; second row, Coach George Franklin, Trainer Joe Guster, Dennis Birgans, Jervis Fitzgerald and Bobby Garden. (Decatur Daily Photo fEBRUARY 16, 1973)



Ping Pong winners at Carrie Matthews Recreation Center are, from left, front row, Travis Cohen, 15-18 Division; Danny Cleamons, 12-14 Division; second row: Dwight Cleamons, 12-14 Division; Sharon Elliott, 8-11 Division; Melvin Baker, 15-18 Division. Wilson Mays is supervisor.








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